The two principal wine appellations in the area we stayed the first full week of our trip are Irouleguy and Jurancon. As I mentioned before, Irouleguy is one of the smallest AOC's in France, and there are only 9 producers. By the end of our week here we had bought wine from 7 of the 9 producers, either by visiting the producer or buying the wines at shops. The majority of Irouleguy wines are red, but most, if not all producers make some white and rose.
Jurancon, on the other hand, while also a fairly small appellation, has around 60 producers, and only white wine is made. On our last full day in the Pays-Basque, we took a drive to the Jurancon area, stopping at a couple of small villages on the way, including the Bastide town of Navarrenx.
We visited 2 Jurancon producers in the afternoon – Domaine Bordnave in Monein, and Chemin Larredya in Chapelle de Rousse. Like all of the Jurancon producers, both are small operations making dry and sweet Jurncon wines from Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, and sometimes Petit Corbu grapes grown on small parcels on the property. We first stopped at Domaine Bordnave, and bought several bottles of 3 different sweet Jurancons.
We then drove to Chemin Larredya to meet Jean-Marc Grussaute, the proprietor, who I had contacted at the recommendation of the New England representative of their US importer, Wine Traditions. Monsieur Grussaute drove up in his tractor when we arrived, and said that his mother would give us a tour and tasting as he was in the middle of doing work in the vineyard. His mother, together with their dog, led us to the tasting room, where she poured their 2 dry and 2 sweet Jurancons, plus a bonus of a 2006 late harvest Jurancon that was made in miniscule quantities and was no longer available for sale. She then gave us a tour of the cellars and bottling area, after which we returned to the tasting room where she poured us a little more of the late harvest wine. We bought the 2 sweet wines that were available, and she also gave us a bottle of one of the dry Jurancons that was no longer available for sale.
|Tasting room and vineyard of Chemin Larredya|
The next day we left our gite in Saint Jean Pied de Port and drove towards Auvillar in the Tarn ey Garonne department, where we will be spending the next week. Auvillar is another of the Plus Beaux Villages, and when we arrived, it was clear that it merited that designation.
|Church in Auvillar from outside our gite|
|Market hall and arcades|